Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Food Clutter

I have had a hard time accepting the idea of food as clutter. Food is necessary for life! People all over the globe -- including this country -- are going without, so I should be happy to have a bounteous pantry.

But if I don't make good use of the food I have, it is essentially clutter. Objects (cans, boxes, bags) that don't serve a purpose. Their purpose should be to provide sustenance, but they aren't serving any purpose. Clutter.

So I am working on reducing my food clutter. When I am at the grocery (especially the discount grocery) I tend to stock up on items. If my family like something, I will buy lots of it so they can always have it (and not run out). But too often they get tired of that something, or they become excited about something else, and things linger. Currently I have frozen grapes and frozen bananas in the freezer, because my kids like to snack on them during the summer. I have all the bread ends, because no one in my family is thrilled to eat ends as toast or sandwiches. I have a deep freeze full of frozen water (for camping) and other things that are perfectly useful...if we used them. But we haven't used them in six months, and they won't keep forever.

Likewise, the dried fruit in the pantry. I bought dried mangos, but people only eat them in oatmeal, if they are cut up. So they mostly sit there, unused, getting older and drier. And sometimes, they feel neglected and hide more popular items from me.

Could I get rid of the deep freeze (and be able to use the laundry room more easily) if we clean out the freezer? We would certainly use less electricity (goal 3!) if we stopped using it. Could I store things more easily, making the pantry more pleasant to use? I think so!

So I will be menu planning to use up the food clutter. Make banana bread (buy flour) to use up the frozen summer bananas. Make crock pot oatmeal, with grapes instead of raisins, or mangos instead of raisins. Bread pudding (or "strata") will use up the bread ends and single hot dog bun I found in the freezer today. Make dinner loaf to use up the wealth of bread crumbs I make out of more unwanted bread ends.

Since this is a planning things, I can't get it all done in one week, but I can work on it over the next several weeks. I want to use up the food that is currently undesirable, rather than let it go to waste. I would donate it if it were possible, but the food that is clutter is open or unpackaged.

Clutter anywhere can be reduced, making each part of the day work more easily. If I declutter the pantry I will prevent food waste while making food prep and planning simpler.


  1. Roberta, it's like you're reading my diary. I also struggle with food clutter. I came to the conclusion after cleaning out the kitchen pantry on Monday that next week's menu theme is going to be to use as much of the stuff we already have in the house as possible. Might make for some interesting meals. ;)

  2. Let me know how it goes! I have too much pasta, or I would be tempted to eat all the food clutter in a week as well!